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Tim Hortons employees prepare coffee before the company's annual general meeting in Toronto, in this file photo taken May 8, 2014. Burger King Worldwide is in talks to buy Canadian coffee and doughnut chain Tim Horton's, according to the Wall Street Journal, in a deal that would be structured as a tax inversion to move the hamburger chain's domicile out of the United States.
Tim Hortons employees prepare coffee before the company's annual general meeting in Toronto, in this file photo taken May 8, 2014. Burger King Worldwide is in talks to buy Canadian coffee and doughnut chain Tim Horton's, according to the Wall Street Journal, in a deal that would be structured as a tax inversion to move the hamburger chain's domicile out of the United States.
(Peter Jones/Reuters)

Tim Hortons deal is U.S. version of feds’ income-trust nightmare

The state of panic in Washington over corporate tax avoidance is nearing code red, and Canada’s beloved Tim Hortons Inc. is on the cusp of being dragged into the hoopla.

On Sunday the national coffee chain announced it is in talks with private equity firm 3G Capital Management, which owns fast-food giant Burger King, about a possible merger. But any deal, should one materialize, won’t be a plain vanilla takeover. There are no synergies at play here. The reason these two firms would combine is simple and straightforward: Burger King wants to lower its tax bill.